Museum to highlight Irish history of duels


Ireland's reputation as the world capital of duelling in the 18th and 19th centuries will be explored in events at the National Museum's Decorative Arts and History building at Collins Barracks in Dublin this week.

According to the museum, 20 duels were fought each day in Ireland in the early 19th century and duels of honour "were more prevalent in Ireland than anywhere else in Europe from the late 17th century until the middle of the 1800s".

On Thursday evening, the museum will have a theme night on "the duel of honour". It will also launch an exhibition looking at the development of the pistol in the 19th century. The exhibition will focus on three generations of the Rigby family from Dublin, who earned international fame as gunmakers in the 19th century.

The 1800s saw duelling clubs spring up all over Ireland and duels were fought "to avenge and insult, to defend a lady's honour and over property disputes, charges of cowardice, insults to a family, or cheating at cards and dice", according to the museum.

Thursday night's event, which will include a guided tour, is the first in the museum's "Afterdark" series. Admission prices for the evening, including a private tour and refreshments, range from €20 to €35.